Reef Check Update

Reef Check reefchck at
Mon Feb 22 21:29:18 EST 1999

 Reef Check Update February 19, 1999

Happy Year of the Rabbit!!


Reef Check 1999 is well underway, with surveys already completed in
various locations around the world. In several areas, Reef Check has now

become an integrated part of multi-level, long-term monitoring programs.
There are about 140 countries/territories where we hope to establish
Reef Check operations. We are expecting major growth in 1999. The new
leadership of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) under the
direction of Bernard Salvat, has done a tremendous job of coordinating
efforts to systematically round up funding for GCRMN/Reef Check. The
next ICRI planning meeting will be held in Paris in March. As more
funding becomes available, we will be looking to support more groups. We

now have a new website address - please update your bookmarks. Detailed
news is given below.

New Website address.

We have purchased the rights to the website:  HYPERLINK This site name was
activated on February 14, 1999 so please update your bookmarks. The old
site name is still active, however, it will be phased out. We are
continually working to improve the website and a few minor changes are
still underway. Suggestions are always welcome.

Website revision: The content of the website has been under revision
since January. Most changes are clarifications. A significant change
be the addition of instructions on how to use Reef Check for long-term
monitoring. Another change is that Reef Check has now become a
continuous activity - however, there will be a cut-off date for
submission of results for 1999 to be included in our annual Summary
Report and
Press Conference. The changes will be listed on the "What's new?" page.

Help with translations: Our website is available in Japanese and German,
thanks to the hard work of Reef Check Coordinators in those countries.
We would like to have other languages available, especially French and
Spanish. If you are willing to help but short on time, a translation of
the home page would be a great start. Anyone willing to volunteer to
translate the pages, please contact us <reefchck at>

1997 results in press

We are pleased to report that the results of the first global coral reef
survey in 1997 are in press in Marine Pollution Bulletin and should be
soon. A big thanks to all who helped collaborate on that pioneering

GCRMN/Reef Check Collaboration

We are aware that there has been some confusion regarding GCRMN and Reef
Check. Please be aware that GCRMN and Reef Check are
officially linked together, and increasing effort is being placed on
collaboration in our coordinator network, training, and surveys. But for
variety of reasons, particularly funding and administration, it is
important they remain separate entities.

Both GCRMN and Reef Check are PROGRAMS with the shared goals of
increasing the awareness of everyone about the value of coral reefs,
threats to their health and solutions. GCRMN is funded through UN
agencies and governments, and is meant to work primarily with
governments through "official" channels. Reef Check, is a university
based operation, and is focused on working with non-governmental
organizations (NGOs). While GCRMN is directly coordinating with
government agencies, Reef Check prefers local NGOs to provide the
with government agencies as needed.

Some of the confusion stems from terminology with methods. GCRMN is a
broader program than Reef Check, and it is designed to support all
types of monitoring. GCRMN is also more democratic than Reef Check and
is able to support various different methods for different purposes.
Reef Check has only one set of core methods because one goal is to
ensure national, regional and global comparability. It was recognised
on by GCRMN that the Reef Check methods were particularly valuable for
two applications:

to get new groups started in the reef monitoring business (scientists,
government staff or NGOs) whether in developed or developing

to get community-based groups (non-scientists) involved in reef
monitoring (e.g. local recreational divers, tourists, village

Based on this, and the large Reef Check network already in operation, in
1998 the GCRMN STAC officially approved the use of Reef Check
methods as the main GCRMN methods for community-based monitoring. In
this respect, the Reef Check program is performing a service for
GCRMN. Therefore, all future GCRMN training programs aimed at either a)
or b) above, will include Reef Check methods. For groups which
need/desire training in more taxonomically detailed methods, advanced
training supported by GCRMN will be carried out using a subset of
English et al (A Survey Manual for Tropical Marine Resources) and other

If you are still confused - please feel free to contact either Clive
Wilkinson or Gregor Hodgson for clarification.

4) Special Monitoring Session, Meeting, Training: NCRI Symposium April
14-16, 1999

Special Session: A special monitoring session including presentations by
GCRMN and Reef Check coordinators will take place at the coral reef
symposium held at the new National Coral Reef Institute in Ft.
Lauderdale April 14-16, 1999. The slots are now all filled, but we
encourage all
those interested in monitoring to attend this half-day session.

Meeting: GCRMN/Reef Check status meeting is tentatively scheduled for
after the regular presentations on Wednesday night 14 April. Mark
your calendars.

Reef Check Training: Ben Haskell, Bill Tyler and Alex Stone are
organizing a one day post-symposium training session on Saturday 17
More details in next update.

Indonesia: Coremap and Bali 2000

Coremap, a very large coral reef management project has started in
Indonesia. We are very pleased that Coremap has adopted Reef Check as
one of its training methods for community-based monitoring.

The next International Coral Reef Symposium will be held in Bali, in
October 2000. As part of this event, we will be holding an
Reef Check prior to the symposium. All of you are invited to participate
in this event, which should prove to be a lot of fun and very
informative. The results of the survey will be presented at the

Philippines: US AID Coastal Resources Management Project

Several large monitoring and management programs have recognized the
usefulness of Reef Check and have adopted it. One of these projects is
the US AID Coastal Resources Management Project, based in Cebu, but
carried out nationally. One of the goals of this project is to develop a

national monitoring protocol. Andre Jon Uychiaoco has taken on this
task. We are grateful to Alan White, Michael Ross and Katherine
Courtney for choosing Reef Check to be part of their monitoring program.


A UNEP/Japan sponsored monitoring training will be held in mid-March at
the Nha Trang Institute of Oceanography. Vo Si Tuan will lead the
training for scientists from Myanmar, Cambodia, China and Vietnam. The
training will start with Reef Check and continue on to high resolution
GCRMN methods. AIMS scientists will also be part of the training team.


Philosophy: Reef Check is fundamentally based on volunteers, however,
there will always be a need for funds to pay for activities, and
sponsorship is required initially to get the ball rolling. Over the long
term, we hope that a combination of private and government co-financing
as well as self-financing mechanisms will pay for Reef Check activities.
(We are looking for an MBA student to look carry out research on
long-term financing options.) We are actively soliciting financial
support on a regional and global scale. If you would like to work with
us to
develop proposals in your area, please let us know.

Grants received: Grants totalling more than US$100,000 have recently
been received from CORAL and MacArthur Foundation. We are grateful
for this support.

ICRAN: ICLARM's John McManus has recently had the initial funding
approved for ICRAN, a precursor of a large coral reef monitoring and
management package that includes GCRMN/Reef Check. We thank John for
doing the hard work to get this off the ground.

World Bank: GCRMN/Reef Check are working with World Bank on a number of
proposals for national, regional and global programs.

8) Pacific Islands

SPREP: The South Pacific Regional Environmental Program has been
extremely helpful in offering to collaborate with training and
implementation of monitoring work in the Pacific Islands. SPREP has been
carrying out a series of training programs over the past several years.
We look forward to working with SPREP and sharing the work and
coordinators. Thanks to James Aston for his knowledgeable assistance.

PNG: Norman Quinn has volunteered for the PNG coordinator position and
will be leading training programs at UPNG and in New Britain.

Keith Kei
Assistant Coordinator
Institute for Environment and Sustainable Development
Applied Technology Centre
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Clearwater Bay Kowloon  HONG KONG
Tel: (852) 2358-6907
Fax: (852) 2358-1334
e-mail: reefchck at
web site:

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